Demo work halted on Daly Street blast site

Posted: August 05, 2013

COMMON PLEAS Court Judge Ellen Ceisler granted an attorney's request yesterday to inspect, photograph and record evidence at the site of an explosion that leveled three properties in South Philly earlier this week.

Demolition and cleanup work will be halted at 426, 428 and 430 Daly St. until Aug. 7, according to the order.

"We're going to do an inspection on Tuesday morning, along with another law firm," said Christopher Moyer, an attorney who is representing Daly Street resident Sekeya Fields.

"We're going to store some of the debris from the explosion and make sure that it'll be analyzed."

Moyer filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Fields, her 15-year-old daughter, Shaquorie, and Fields' boyfriend, Jukennith Smith, against SCK Investments, the company that purchased 428 Daly St. in January and subsequently began renovating the property.

Cathy Finney-Hughes and Steve Finney, the heads of SCK Investments, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

The rehabbed rowhouse was the source of a blast on Monday morning that tore down the two neighboring properties.

Fields, her boyfriend and her daughter lived at 430 Daly St. Shaquorie Fields was in her second-floor bedroom when the explosion occurred, and was trapped in the rubble for at least 30 minutes, Moyer said.

The teen was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and released. "She's complaining of general body aches," Moyer said. "She's pretty traumatized."

Fields' daughter was among seven who suffered minor injuries.

An eighth person, Steven Barrientos, was working inside 428 Daly when the blast shook the block. He was critically injured, suffering burns to 22 percent of his body, authorities have said.

Barrientos, who was described by Mayor Nutter as a "handyman," is represented by the law firm of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky.

Fire Department Executive Chief Richard Davison said the investigation into the cause of the blast is still ongoing.

City Councilman Mark Squilla said earlier this week that he had been told by sources that Barrientos lit a cigarette inside the house after he might have tried unsuccessfully to light the pilot on a water heater. Nutter later said the claim was "pure speculation."

On Twitter: @dgambacorta

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